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Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck
An intimate portrait of the most accomplished American artist you've never heard of, working in a genre all his own.
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Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck

Running Time
68 minutes

Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck

Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck pulls back the curtain on the singular artist David Beck: a master sculptor, carver, and miniature architect who works in a fantastical genre all his own, creating intricate worlds that are alive with magical and brilliant observations. A largely undiscovered genius, David Beck is known to a select group of collectors and curators. During his early, formative years in New York City Beck lived on the edge of destitution. Eventually he found gallery representation and established a following of enthusiasts who snap up his work as soon as it comes out. His pieces have been shown at the MET, the Guggenheim, and some of the world’s most prominent galleries. His work, “MVSEVM” was commissioned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where it is on permanent display. To the larger public, though, he is virtually unknown. His intricate, kinetic sculptures might be objects from a dream – fanciful buildings and hollow animals containing detailed, often humorous, scenes that are rendered on a tiny scale. Indifferent to current fashions, Beck combines modern, popular, and classical influences in his own way. Curious Worlds captures the artist at work in his studio and reflecting on his art. It is an intimate insight into what it takes to create a masterwork: extraordinary ideas, an almost eerie ability to focus on the work, and patience. Beck submits to the camera’s invasive scrutiny with a wit and charm that is both inviting and ambivalent. Ultimately, he comes across as the smartest, most creative artist you’ve never heard of.

Filmmaker Notes:

I have known the subject of my film, the artist David Beck, since I was seven years old. My father, Allan Stone, was his longtime art dealer, and over the years, David became like a member of our family. Although I was surrounded by many different kinds of art and artists, David’s work was the first art that I remember being utterly transported by. I was so inspired by what he could do that I spent many Saturday mornings making my own tiny clay creations—in an attempt to create the fabulous creatures and worlds that enchanted me in David’s work. It was daunting for me to think about making a film about someone whose work I admire so much, but in the end, I felt like this is an artist that people don’t know about—but should. A huge motivation for me in making this film is to hopefully expose a larger audience to David and his work. I hope that “Curious Worlds” will help to do that.

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2015
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